Auto Upkeep Homeschool Kit

Reviewed by Jonathan Lewis

I’m not a car guy. In my book, cars are tools, not toys. I appreciate having a good set of wheels, but I don’t get all revved up about the details. And when it comes to maintenance? I’d far rather pay someone to change my oil than try to do it myself.

That said, we depend a lot on our cars. And having some knowledge of how they work and how to perform basic care and maintenance is a good thing. That’s where Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair by Michael and Linda Gray comes in. Designed as a high school elective course, Auto Upkeep can count as either a full or half credit depending on how you opt to structure it.

The course consists of a textbook, workbook, and CD (or USB for an additional $10); you’ll also find supplemental videos on the course’s website (www.Homeschool.AutoUpkeep.com). The textbook’s twenty chapters cover topics such as buying an automobile, care and cleaning, checking fluids, common problems and roadside emergencies, and the car’s major systems, such as electrical, fuel, ignition, suspension, cooling, and more. Numerous practical activities (detailed in the workbook) will get your students learning in a hands-on way as they take what they’ve learned in the textbook and apply it in a real-world situation (for example, checking fluid levels, replacing a belt, cleaning the battery, etc.).

Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I’m probably not the best person in the world to review this resource. I’m one of the most nonmechanical people you’ll ever meet, and there’s no way I can vouch for the accuracy of the information included. What I can say is that the material generally appears to be well presented, and I would probably learn a lot myself if I went through the whole course!

One feature that stood out to me was the number of photos included in the workbook to illustrate the hands-on activities. A student undertaking the fluid check or tire inspection and rotation activities, for example, will find plenty of photos to illustrate the procedures, help him or her identify the correct parts, etc. That’s particularly helpful for people like me who benefit from seeing things rather than just reading directions.

If you’re looking for a good elective for your high school students, check out Auto Upkeep. If they’re mechanically oriented, they’ll most likely enjoy the course while gaining useful knowledge and experience. And if they’re like me and don’t really like getting their hands dirty under the hood, it wouldn’t hurt them to learn the basics. So check it out. Who knows? You just might find the course pays for itself after your teen learns how to change the oil at home. Double win! 

This review was originally published in the May/June 2016 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Information and availability subject to change without notice.